Moisture and basement mold go hand in hand. High moisture levels lead to mold throughout your Virginia home. That can result in dangerous conditions for your health and eventually extremely expensive renovations.
Smart homeowners learn the signs to look for, even before mold is highly visible in their homes. They respect just how much of a priority stopping and preventing mold can be. They spring into action and get the help they need to protect their most precious assets.
Moisture & Basement Mold
Mold needs three things to grow and spread:
- Organic material (wood, drywall, carpet, etc.)
Your basement and crawl space is the perfect environment for mold spores to begin to grow and spread throughout your home. This is especially true if you haven’t intentionally addressed waterproofing your basement. Or when you’ve bought a home which has a freshly finished basement that may have been completed in a rush, without the necessary steps to protect your health and foundation.
Mold & Your Health
If you’re not confident you’ve mold proofed your home and you aren’t regularly alert to the potential signs, your health can be the first red flag.
In severe cases, just walking into a home with toxic mold and breathing the spores can trigger immediate attacks. If you’ve already been living in this home it can really creep up on you. Over time, this can cause respiratory problems, asthma attacks and even brain and permanent lung damage.
Far before this stage, you may experience more active allergies — sneezing, itchy eyes, coughing, sore throats, watery eyes and runny nose. Those with weakened immune systems are even more prone to suffer worse symptoms. Increasingly frequent headaches may also warrant taking your mold prevention even more seriously.
Signs Your Home May Have A Lurking Mold Problem
Mold is a lot harder to get rid of once you’ve got it. The more you have and the longer it is growing, the more work and more expensive it will be, even if you aren’t worried about your health or the ethical and legal liabilities of renting or selling a property with mold problems.
Red flags include:
- Floor and wall cracks
- Stained and rotted wood
- Warped flooring and doorways
- High moisture readings during home inspections
- Generally high humidity levels
- Higher utility bills
- Damp carpets and belongings
- Musty odors
- Signs of pest and rodent infestations
Any of these can be warning signs there may be mold. Those mold spores can spread and end up behind your walls, between floors and in crawl spaces.
You may not be able to remove all of the oxygen or wood from your home. So the number one thing you can do to prevent mold is eliminate moisture.
Get down to the root cause. Look for signs and sources of leaks and dampness. Do you have condensation on concrete block basement walls? Is there a white powdery or crystalline substance left behind by leaks? Are there cracks in your home that can be letting in moisture?
Other great steps include:
- Checking your gutters are functioning or installing new ones
- Installing French drains, interior gutters and grated pipes in the basement
- Adding vapor barriers to crawl spaces
- Getting a high-quality dehumidifier
- Investing in an air purifier
- Cleaning or replacing air conditioning vents and ducts
Start by having a professional inspection and requesting a free estimate and custom game plan for solving water issues and preventing future basement mold.
Some may suggest using bleach, vinegar or baking soda to get rid of mold. Be careful. It is more than a little ironic that these regular household ideas are recommended as the solution to just about everything on the home via cheap websites online. They can supposedly cure weeds, insects, and just about anything you want to get rid of.
It may be possible to clean some types of mildew and mold from non-porous surfaces using cleaning products. That doesn’t mean it is safe or gets rid of the problem. The real mold is lurking underneath. Some of these products will actually cause more mold in these porous materials, like plywood.
Real mold remediation requires removing these infected materials, and then as necessary, passing an environmental inspection.